Failure to consult on Sandwell GP closure criticised

A council health watchdog has written to the Government to criticise NHS England’s ‘failure to consult’ with 2,500 patients before a GP surgery was closed.

Malling health centre
Malling Health centre

Sandwell Council’s health scrutiny board has written to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt to criticise what it calls the ‘failure to consult’ with the patients of Malling Health in Wednesbury before it closed last Friday.

Chiefs say in their letter they first warned NHS England they needed the council-owned land back, where the surgery was sited, so they could begin work on a leisure centre next door last June.

Bosses then claim NHS England decided not to renew the surgery’s contract in January but did not inform them.

Councillor Paul Sandars, who chairs the board, wrote: “The Scrutiny Board was not informed of this decision but found out by chance from local ward councillors. In addition to this there was also a failure to engage patients in the decision making process.

“By the time Scrutiny discovered the proposal, effectively it was too late for other options, including the relocation of the premises, to be considered.

“The relocation of the practice would not have been feasible without the three month lead in time required for IT purposes.

“The Scrutiny Board wanted to ensure that the best possible outcomes were achieved for local residents who were patients of the surgery, the achievement of this was impeded by a lack of consultation on proposals to close the surgery.

“The lack of consultation also caused a considerable amount of upset to patients at the practice.”

A petition with more than 800 signatures calling for the centre to remain open was delivered to Parliament last month.

Both the Malling Health and The Spires health centre were due to have new premises as part of a £9 million new health scheme due to be built in High Bullen.

The centre, originally known as the ‘2010 project’ because of when it was due for completion, has not yet begun, though NHS England has insisted it is ‘committed in principle’ to the scheme.

Comments for: "Failure to consult on Sandwell GP closure criticised"

Glenda

This council is so pathetic,

Perhaps the Secretary of State has followed Sandwell Councils famous new book.

"How to consult on the Public Art Building"

middley

Agree Glenda. Pot calling the kettle black, what do the council consult the people of sandwell on, they just steam roller their most often than not million pound "cock up's" and then blame anyone bar themselves, mostly government cuts when they have had to shift money around to prop up such schemes with front line service money, however I do think it's disgusting for the residents of Wednesbury.

Ivor

Dear Labour you may have missed a few points

It was due for completion in 2010 , When Labour were in Government

It was never started while Labour were in council and Government.

Great Bridge had a massive car park 8 years ago closed for a medical centre , that's still fenced off. Will this scrutiny board scrutinise that decision done by Labour and send that off to Government . No chance

But then I realised there's an election due